Murphy’s soccer team used company involved in visa scheme, feds say
A top executive of an organization used by the soccer team co-owned by Gov. Phil Murphy was charged Friday in connection with a wide-ranging visa fraud conspiracy.
From 2016 to October 2019, Justin Capell, of Southborough, Massachusetts, and other employees of Global Premier Soccer submitted fraudulent visa petitions to several federal agencies on behalf of seven professional soccer teams, including Murphy's FC Sky Blue, in order to secure visas for GPS’s foreign coaching staff, according to the complaint in the case filed in U.S. District Court of Massachusetts.
Murphy is not named in the complaint and has not been accused of wrongdoing.
GPS provided youth soccer instruction through clinics, town leagues, tournaments and international residential academies and employed many foreign nationals in the United States on temporary, non-immigrant visas, according to the complaint.
The petitions submitted by GPS stated that the applicant would be working as scouts or assistant coaches for the pro teams when they were really employed only as youth soccer coaches by GPS, according to the complaint.
Capell would also submit phony employment contracts and fake coaching licenses, and would also file fraudulent visa petitions for foreign workers to work in GPS affiliates in one area of the country but were sent to different areas of the country.
According to the complaint, GPS submitted fake contracts in 2016, stating that employees would be working as scouts for Sky Blue and assistant coaches and scouts for the Boston Breakers at salaries more than they were actually paid.
Murphy was not elected governor of New Jersey until 2017 and is no longer involved with the day-to-day operation of Sky Blue. His wife, Tammy, is also an owner and is the chairwoman of the club.
GoLocalProv.com, a news site in Rhode Island, posted copies of emails in which Phil Murphy responds to a request from co-owner Steven Temares to talk about working with GPS about the team's "scouting structure."
Former Sky Blue coach Christy Holly, who is a friend of former GPS CEO and co-founder Joe Bradley, told the Boston Globe that he and Bradley thought everything was being done legally. Holly told the Globe he benefitted from scouting information about youth soccer players provided by GPS. Holly left the team in 2017.
Neither Murphy, Bradley or Holly are mentioned in the complaint or charged.
A spokeswoman for Sky Blue did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Monday afternoon. The team in a statement to the Globe said it became aware of the investigation in 2018 and had not used GPS since 2016.